We all love ATV camping in the back country, but nothing will ruin a trip faster than not being properly prepared. To have the best ATV camping trip possible, it’s important we take the time to plan the trip to avoid any mistakes! The following is what I believe to be the four (most) common ATV camping mistakes.
1. Since ATV camping utilizes a motorized OHV, it is critical that the area an ATV camping trip is planned for allows ATVs. This is the first common ATV camping mistake, driving a long distance hauling your ATVs loaded with camping gear only to arrive and find out the area does not allow ATVs and/or camping.
What may have allowed ATVs a couple of years ago may not allow them today. It is very important to check with the local authorities about possible ATV camping areas. This also gives you the opportunity to find out more about the area, the local wildlife, campfire restrictions and any other information that might be pertinent.
2. The next common ATV camping mistake is not properly loading and securing your gear on the ATV. Too many times have I seen ATVs stacked high with camping gear and supplies, only to be secured with a couple of bungee cords (been there, done that). Not only does this present a problem with effectively handling the ATV on the trails but the potential for lost gear is very high.
3. Don’t under-estimate the weather! This is the next common ATV camping mistake. It seems there is always one in the group who was convinced the sun and moon were going to shine brightly for the whole camping trip. NOT! Be prepared for ATV camping in the rain.
Here in Colorado the weather can change in an instant and if you have not sealed the seams on your tent, have a rain suit and packed some extra clothes you are in for an unpleasant experience. Also pitching your tent so it is not in a low lying area where rain water will pool is a good idea.
4. OK, so you have properly researched the camping area, properly loaded your ATV, your tent is sealed, your rain gear is loaded and you ride the back country trails for miles to find the absolutely perfect campsite. You have a great time camping, riding and enjoying the back country for a couple of days. On the last day you break camp, load up the ATV, start the engine for the trip back to the truck and then look at the fuel gauge…AHHHHHH!
This is the last of my four common ATV camping mistakes, not packing plenty of extra fuel for the trip. This has been an issue for me on almost every ATV camping trip I have been on. But I have always made it back to the truck, sometimes on fumes. If you enjoy riding as much as I do then I recommend at least four gallons of extra fuel.
As I stated earlier, I have been there, done that! I hope you can avoid these four common ATV camping mistakes and learn from my mistakes. At CampingATV.com we help people prepare and equip their ATVs for ATV camping. What experiences have you had with camping mistakes?
Photo: (feature) Eronspics, (rainy camp) Nick Taylor, (fuel) Paul Heaberlin